Since 2004, Meor and Olami has been working on college campuses to inspire, educate and empower young Jews — the future leadership of the Jewish community. In 2015, a brave group of educators, young lay leaders, and donors came together to form Meor Manhattan and take it to the next level.
Since then, working out of the Jewish Enrichment Center in Greenwich Village, Meor Manhattan has been building and cultivating a vibrant community of Jewish young professionals that is changing Jewish life in the heart of New York City, and is moving the needle for the future of the Jewish people.
MEET THE TEAM
Meor Manhattan started as one of Rabbi Lynn’s visions of what could be. After over a decade at the helm of one of Meor’s first and most vibrant campuses, he realized that if Meor did not evolve to galvanize its thousands of alumni that were living in NYC, it would be missing a historic opportunity to impact American Jewry. For years, Rabbi Lynn would make trips up from Philly to keep his former students from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) connected to what had turned them onto Judaism in college. The time had come to help this network become the thriving community it is today. Under his guidance and inspired by his out-of-any-box-you’ve-ever-encountered creativity, we have built a full ecosystem of communal learning opportunities and social meeting points for young Jews of New York to mature and become the young leaders that we need to lead the way forward.
Rabbi Lynn served for 12 years as Executive Director of Meor at Penn, where he continues to teach regularly. The Maimonides Leaders Fellowship, his flagship program there, is now available at more than 50 campuses throughout North America. The Israel and Poland trips he pioneered in his early years at Penn have become national entities, receiving generous support from foundations and Israeli government initiatives with thousands of alumni.
Before coming to Penn, Rabbi Lynn lived in Israel for nine years. He studied Torah, Jewish philosophy, and Talmudic law at the renowned Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, the largest yeshiva in Israel. Not having taken the most typical track to the Mir Yeshiva, Rabbi Lynn first graduated from Duke University, and then went on to the Tisch Film School at NYU, later spending several years working as a writer in Los Angeles. He was born in New York City, and is happy to be back, but he grew up in sunny Palm Beach, Florida.
He is the husband of Ruthi Lynn, a parenting specialist and founder of Aliyt, a Jewish Family Support Organization for Women. Mrs. Lynn is a graduate of Cambridge University in the U.K., where she earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Oriental studies. Rabbi and Mrs. Lynn, who first met in Israel, are the parents of eight children.
Rabbi Blachman was born and raised in Jerusalem. He studied at the famed Chevron Yeshiva and went on from there to study under Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz in the prominent Jerusalem Kollel, which trains rabbis who serve all over the globe. Aside from his yeshiva studies, he undertook several business endeavors, one of which involved founding his own ice cream company in Israel.
He moved to New York City to be part of the team at Meor Manhattan, and lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Rivka and two children. He hosts lively Shabbos meals with 20+ guests which is talked about far and wide. Additionally, he founded the Manhattan Learning Lounge men’s learning program to inspire and help guys break into the exhilarating study of the Talmud.
Growing up in the New York area, Mendy is descended from more than 20 generations of rabbis. He studied in the Harvard of the Yeshiva world, Brisk, and received rabbinic ordination as well as a first rabbinic degree from the Jerusalem Kollel. He has previously worked as an editor and is a qualified shochet (ritual slaughterer) as well!
Mendy was head of the Oorah Jerusalem Chillzone, a program dedicated to providing a family experience for American University students spending a gap year in Jerusalem. Mendy was the Director of Aish Essex in Northeast London creating programs for young Jews, preparing young couples for their weddings and the Brukirer home has become legendary as a hub for people in the area and beyond.
Rabbi Jack has been teaching Meor students since 2008. He himself was one of the first Meor students at Penn (an ongoing debate with now Meor Penn Rabbi Rick Fox). He was instrumental in helping Rabbi Lynn recruit for the first Maimonides program on campus. After graduating with a double major in physics and philosophy, Rabbi Jack went on to study Talmud and Jewish philosophy and character development in Jerusalem. He returned to Penn, now a rabbi, and at the time, the only one with the inside scoop on the jazz and bluegrass speakeasies in West Philadelphia. Rabbi Jack took time off from work to pursue a masters in education from Harvard, which helped him better help people learn about themselves and learn Torah in more engaging and stimulating ways. Rabbi Jack teaches all week, all over the city, at different levels, and focusing on different subjects, attuned to the desires of the people he’s learning with. One of his passions is people accessing and actualizing their unique individual missions, and currently has a book being published by Mosaica Press on the subject titled Born to Be. Together with his wife the famed Meor Manhattan educator Calanit, and their kids Avigayil, Leah and Moshe, the Cohens are excited to be living in the Upper East Side, and cultivate a vibrant community there.
Faigy has been working with the JEC Meor Manhattan for 10 years now! Although born and bred in Brooklyn, she is currently a “Real House Wife” of Long Island. She is married to the entrepreneur, Elimelech Blumstein and has a boatload of kids (5 to be exact). She spent 4 years living in Israel while attending College abroad. After receiving her Masters in Psychology, she works as a school psychologist for the Board of Education. She teaches Wednesday evenings at Meor in City and host’s her very own “Faigy Show”. Faigy is known as a “Mystic Millenial” and teaches Chassidus to the masses. Along with learning one on one with students, she spends time with Brides and teaches them the secrets behind the beauty of a Jewish Marriage. Her favourite things are manicures, skiing, starbucks and a good hashtag every now and then! She prides herself on trying out new recipes and loves hosting for Shabbat.
Taly was born and raised in Chile. A natural burning desire to bring Jews together she has spent a lot of her life connecting and learning with young Jews. She studied Business at Adolfo Ibaniez University and a semester in Stern in NYC. She worked for NCSY as an advisor for 7 years and has made the jump to New York City to engage with the Meor Manhattan community. Taly loves to travel and has been to over 20 countries.
Elana is a native New Yorker. She embarked upon her journey at Meor Manhattan by attending a Poland Trip as the grandaughter of Holocaust survivors and the rest is history (which is appropriate, given her love of history). Elana received her degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Communication Design with a background in Fine and Applied Arts. She then moved on to the prestigious Starr Restaurant Group where she honed her hospitality and signature event style.
After a decade, Elana left the restaurant world to join the Jewish nonprofit world where she uses her hospitality sensitivities to make people feel at home in the Jewish community. She brings her design and artistic vision to Meor Manhattan, and is fueled by her love of the Jewish People to curate beautiful events and programs. In her spare time, she can be found S.C.U.B.A. diving, hiking, or exploring New York on bicycles alongside her husband Alex.
Malka was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. Coming to New York for college, she graduated with a degree in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons: The New School of Design – right around the corner from the JEC!
Malka has previous experience doing marketing in both the fashion and food industry, and is excited to now have the opportunity to combine her love of Judaism with her marketing vision and skills. A certified pastry chef, Malka loves to bake and create beautiful desserts. She can also be found hiking, biking, playing tennis, cooking, and crafting in her spare time.
Born and raised in London, Batsheva brings enthusiasm, energy, and over 10 years of experience in events and project management. In particular, Batsheva spent 5 years running young professional events and regular programming at the Jewish Learning Exchange in London (JLE), as well as five years in education. Batsheva is passionate about inspiring young Jews to the richness of their heritage through beautiful, thoughtful and evocative design that awakens their senses and imagination. She defines success as how much a program positively enriches people’s day to day lives. In the past five years, in her spare time, Batsheva has established a thriving party planning business, and enjoys the opportunity to orchestrate people’s celebratory occasions on a regular basis!
Daniella was born and raised in England, she attended the University of Nottingham where she got her BA in Sociology and Politics. She has been an active Jewish leader from a very young age, being involved in Bnai Akiva as a Madricha, Jewish society President in her first year at college and Head rep for Aish UK during her college time. She went on to work for Aish UK for a year after college and attended Forum of Jewish Leadership who set up the young Jewish leaders in England with internships in America. She attended Jewish Student Leaders Conference in 2014 where she made close connections with staff and has moved across the pond to work for Meor Manhattan in marketing and recruitment. She loves music and planning wild adventures.